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Literature: Traces
Traces is a series of seven Science Fiction crime novels by Malcolm Rose. They center around sixteen year old Forensic Investigator Luke Harding and his partner in law, the Mobile Aid to Law and Crime (Or Malc for short), as they solve crimes in an alternate England where blacks are the majority race and the southern parts of the country are derelict slums.

The series starts with Luke passing his FI examination, only to quickly be thrust into his first case when a series of murders occur in the school that all seem to point to him being the perpetrator. After solving the case he's stationed in London due to the abundance of crimes in the South, which puts pressure on his already forbidden relationship with Love Interest Jade Vernon.

The final book in the series, Murder Club, was recently released as an e-book.

This series provides examples of:

  • Androids and Detectives
  • Arranged Marriage: Pairings work this way. It becomes a source of conflict in many of the books, most notably between Luke and Jade.
  • Be as Unhelpful as Possible: Ms. Thacket
  • Bluffing the Murderer: Luke does this to force a confession out of Ed in Framed!.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Luke was this in his school days. Mildly deconstructed in that some students resent him for it.
  • Buried Alive: What Ian Pritchard nearly did to Luke in Final Lap.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The plane crash mentioned at the start of Double Check.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The bags of rats that Ian Pritchard collected in Final Lap. The javelin in Framed!.
  • Chekhov's News: The tsunami in Roll Call.
  • Cool Teacher: Instructor Cadman.
  • Corrupt Bureaucrat: Nicoletta Boniwell is in fact NOT one.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: In Double Check, Camilla briefly assumes the identity of Farrah Bruce after she kills her.
  • Death of One of the Hypotenuses: Vince Wainright's death is this.
  • Detective Mole: Subverted in Framed!, though, as the blurb says, 'all the evidence points to Luke himself'.
  • Disposing of a Body: Ian Pritchard's victims are disposed of particularly unpleasantly.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Luke had made a fool of Ed Hoffman, by tampering with his javelin, so his reaction was, naturally, to kill three people, or pawns, as he called them, in an attempt to destroy Luke's life.
  • Endangered Species: Cats and dogs. A cat smuggling operation was even central though a Red Herring to the plot of Framed!
  • Eureka Moment: Luke's discovery of the connection between the murder weapons in Framed!.
  • Excited Show Title!: Framed!.
  • Faking the Dead: Camilla in Double Check. She tries it again during the investigation, but Luke isn't fooled.
  • Fired Teacher: Rick Glenfield.
  • Foil: Luke and Malc for one another.
  • Foreshadowing: Ian's line to Luke about the foundations in Final Lap.
    Ian: I don't want to be down there when they start to lay the foundations, do I? That wouldn't be much fun.
  • Frameup: Luke is framed for triple murder in Framed!. Played With in Double Check; Luke thinks Everton was framed for Rowan's murder, but it turns out that he had been hit by lightning, which caused him to have a spastic fit in the already murdered Rowan's apartment, which is why nearly all evidence pointed to him.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Mobile Aid to Law and Crime.
  • Hero's First Rescue: Luke's rescue of EW4 in Roll Call.
  • Holy Is Not Safe: The snake in Lost Bullet.
  • Identification by Dental Records: Luke uses this technique to narrow down the options in his final exams in Framed!.
  • Impersonating an Officer: Jade, briefly. It's noted that she could get into trouble for doing so.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison:
    • In Framed!, Luke never says the third murder weapon is a glass cutter. Ed Hoffman, on the other hand, does seem to know. Make of that what you will.
    • In Roll Call, Q, when they are discovered, says that EW4 is a 'girl' when Luke had not said how old she was.
    • In Double Check, Camilla almost lets slip that she knew Lee MacArthur had died, yet there was supposed to be no contact between the two after he had given her a new identity.
  • I Will Find You: Jade after Luke's disappearence at the end of Final Lap
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Happens to Everton in Double Check. It's revealed he was struck by lighting, which can cause memory deficits in some cases.
  • Last Minute Reprieve: For Everton Kohter.
  • Let Off by the Detective: Holly Queenan.
  • Literal-Minded: Malc.
  • Locard's Theory: Seen several times. Most pertinent in Framed!, where a slight contact from Ed Hoffman when he was poisoning Ms. Kee left her with a flake of white paint, two blue denim fibres, six fine particles of magnesite, a smear of wax and a deposit of sawdust on her right side.
  • Murder by Cremation: The fate of Libby Byrne.
  • Name's the Same: The killer in Roll Call is only after girls named Emily Wonder.
  • Never One Murder
  • Non-Action Guy: While Luke is physically fit and often chases down suspects, Malc is usually the one to combat violence.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Malc.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Despite Malc and the Authorities telling him several times to leave London while he still can, before the tsunami hits, Luke ignores them in order to first ensure Owen Goode and his band of scraps gets to safety, and then, after another warning to leave, ascends a crane in an incredibly risky (though ultimately successful) attempt to save EW4, who he didn't have time to carry to high ground conventionally.
  • Omniscient Database: Malc has these for training excersies. Unhelpfully, he doesn't for the real world.
  • Parental Abandonment: After children are sent to school they aren't supposed to see their parents again. Subverted in Blood Brother where Luke's parents appear, and also in ''Roll Call' where Earl Dimmock mentions visiting his.
  • Persecution Flip: While discrimination is not a major theme to te series, it's white peole who are the discriminated-against minority.
  • Preacher Man: Ethan Loach.
  • Reverse Whodunnit: Framed!, Roll Call and Final Lap all have very small clues that should help to make the discovery of who the murderer is possible before Luke makes it.
  • Robot Buddy: Malc.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Luke and Jade.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: The Authorities, at times.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Inverted; smoking is illegal in the Traces verse.
  • Snarky Nonhuman Sidekick: Played with with Malc.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: Bob Beckham
  • Taking the Bullet: Malc does this three times for Luke; taking a knife in Framed!, a bullet in Lost Bullet and a tree branch in Final Lap. Justified in that Luke's safety is Malc's second priority after upholding the law.
  • Taking You with Me: When Luke confronts Ed Hoffman in Framed!, he is told that since he had Ed for triple murder anyway, killing Luke as well wouldn't change anything.
  • Talker and Doer
  • Talking Appliance Sidekick: Malc.
  • Teen Genius: Luke is the youngest person to become a Forensic Investigator. Naturally people point out how he's a bit young to be an investigator.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Ian Pritchard, AND Mr Morgan, the blinking HOTEL RECPTIONIST. And the identity of Q, also.
  • The Stoic: Malc.
  • Theme Serial Killer: Ed Hoffman, Emily Wonder, and perhaps Bob Beckham if one can call him a serial killer.
  • Token White: Owen Goode is the only recurring white character.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Pomegranates for Luke. Finding a hotel that serves them is a running theme after Framed!.
  • Writing Indentation Clue: Used by Luke in Double Check to work out Camilla Bunker's new identity.

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alternative title(s): Traces
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